The approval came after Anwal agreed to invest£E 180 million ($32 million) in the

company’s branches, to settle Omar Effendi’s debts, worth£E 155 million ($27 million), and to pension terms for Omar Effendi’s employees. The sale was delayed after a Saudi-based local

businessman tabled a late offer of£E 2,000 million ($350 million), but failed to provide the necessary documentation.

Omar Effendi is the country’s largest chain of state-owned department stores. Anwal has committed to continuing Omar Effendi’s activities and is prohibited from selling two sites a landmark building in Cairo and a protected branch in Alexandria. The chain recorded four years of net losses before posting a profit of£E 2 million ($350,000) in 2005 (MEED 8:9:06).